Man, writer Greg Pak sure knows how to grab you and pull you right into a story. In the debut issue, Pak did a terrific job introducing us to what kind of man Gilad Anni-Padda is and showed us the basics of why his unique universe is more than deserving of its own title. While building the signature character and the individuals which surround him, Pak also gave us quite a lot of what we'd expect from a series with a title like this one: bloody action. Much to my surprise, this second issue is even better than the first.
In this issue, Pak presents topnotch writing and takes the necessary steps to build both the characters and the overall narrative. Both focuses are juggled incredibly well and the result is an issue which not only builds a much stronger connection to the main character, but also teases the start of something potentially huge without giving too much away, either. We're hit with quite a bit of exposition but it never comes off as forced -- it all feels organic and successfully avoids redundancy. The action takes a little bit of a backseat this time around, but it's 100% worth it because the character and story building is commendable and completely engrossing. It's a great insight into Gilad and has some brilliant bits of emotion and drama tossed in.
Artist Clayton Crain jumps in for the flashback scenes and, boy oh boy, it looks stellar. The pages come off as immaculate, presenting wonderfully detailed characters and beyond realistic and animated locations. The first splash page is damn good, too, and will most likely drop your jaw. Seriously, it's magnificent stuff. Meanwhile, Trevor Hairsine and Brian Reber prove once again they're a mighty fine fit for the title. Relatively minor gripes over some facial features aside, the two create a more than fitting atmosphere for each scene. Moreover, the action comes off as precise yet brutal and tends to have an appropriately somber vibe to it.
You know you're dealing with a very good issue when your key complaint is, "Well, the change between two totally different artists is obviously somewhat jarring."
At this rate, ETERNAL WARRIOR absolutely holds the potential to become my favorite Valiant book, and if you're a regular here on our little corner of the internet, then you know that's pretty big praise. Pak is doing an outstanding job growing Gilad as a character while throwing in a more than ample amount of fascination and shocking action as well. At the end of the day, it's simply a quality book that each and every action fan should check out.
In the event you missed out on issue #1, an informative intro makes this a totally adequate jumping on point. However, I still strongly recommend buying the first issue just so you can see how everything actually plays out for yourself. Plus, it's awesome, and you like awesome stuff, right?